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100 Things to Be Excited for 2024 NFL Season

May 27, 2024 EST

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As of Tuesday, it is 100 days until the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs kick off the 2024 regular season. Here, in no order, are 100 things to be excited about for the upcoming season:

Mark it down and start planning your party now: Super Bowl LIX will be Feb. 9, 2025, at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. It should be a national holiday.

Harbaugh is one of a kind. He’s back in the NFL after nine years in Michigan and if you needed a reminder of what an oddball Harbaugh can be, he’s living in an RV as he prepares for the season.

Kickoffs are going to look really weird this season. It will lead to more returns, which is a good thing. What will be even weirder is if the Pittsburgh Steelers actually explore using quarterback Justin Fields to return kicks.

By the season opener we’d watch any two teams. But Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson to kick off the season? Oh, yeah.

Over the second half of last season, Jordan Love went from an unknown to a quarterback who looks like a star. Did the Packers find another franchise quarterback? It seems likely, though we’ll find out for sure.

Play “choose your fighter” with the network theme songs. They all let us know to settle in for a good day of football. The Fox theme is the best, but no argument with any of the others.

Nacua going from a fifth-round draft pick to a record-setting rookie receiver was startling. It’s really hard to improve on a 105-catch, 1,486-yard season, but it’s also not wise to bet against Nacua.

If Daniels is anywhere close to as explosive as he was at LSU, where he made endless big plays and won a Heisman Trophy, the Washington Commanders’ rookie quarterback is going to be a heck of a lot of fun to watch.

For many, the start of football means the start of fantasy football. McCaffrey will be the first overall pick in most leagues, and there’s no reason he can’t have another historic season for the 49ers.

The Chiefs are pairing a first-round receiver who set the scouting combine record with a 4.21-second 40 with Patrick Mahomes. This is going to be fun.

Nix was a debated draft pick when he went 12th overall to the Broncos. It seemed nobody really liked it, but the Broncos did. Everyone will be excited to label him a bust and be right, but maybe Nix can prove everyone wrong.

Watt has won the sack title three of the past four years. He’ll pass 100 career sacks this season and continue to be one of the must-watch defensive players in the league.

Gibbs was a rookie last season splitting time with David Montgomery, and he still had a bunch of highlights with 1,261 total yards and 11 touchdowns. The Lions have indicated Gibbs’ role will grow, and that could be a lot of fun.

Don’t lie, the plays depicted by dots on Next Gen Stats are mesmerizing.

Hall isn’t some big secret; he’ll be a first-round draft pick in just about every fantasy league. But because the Jets have been so bad in his two seasons, maybe not everyone realizes how good Hall is. Everyone will know by the middle of this season, especially with the Jets so often in prime time.

Let’s try to give the 2023 first overall pick a mulligan. Nobody would have succeeded with that Panthers cast. If Young struggles again, it’ll be harder to make excuses.

Don’t like the attention Swift gets during Chiefs games? Shake it off. The pop superstar and the legions of new fans to the NFL is a fun thing. And it’s probably going to be a story again. … Ready for it?

Belichick couldn’t get a coaching job, so he’s joining the Manningcast for “Monday Night Football” with Peyton and Eli Manning. Belichick can be very insightful — his draft insight was great and he was tremendous on the NFL’s 100th anniversary shows — and that will come as a shock to those who know him just from his grunts through media conferences.

Brandon Aiyuk was part of trade rumors. Then it was Deebo Samuel reportedly on the block. It’s always hard to keep receivers happy, so what happens next with the 49ers’ star pass catchers?

Kickers aren’t exciting … unless it’s Tucker with the game on the line. Maybe we’ll get another moment like this (Sorry, Lions fans).

If all goes well for Kirk Cousins, we’ll never see the eighth pick of the draft play meaningful snaps. No matter what, the Penix-Cousins dynamic will be a constant story for the Falcons until Cousins is gone.

Evans has played 10 NFL seasons. He has 10 1,000-yard seasons. Last season, Evans was as good as ever. Can he keep his remarkable run going?

The HBO show has run its course, but when it comes on this August, it’s still a sign that the season is close. And we get “Hard Knocks: Offseason” episodes with the Giants as a bonus this summer.

At Ohio State, Harrison always looked like an NFL veteran playing college ball. He was advanced, which can happen when your father is a Hall of Fame receiver. Harrison’s rookie season with the Cardinals could be a special one.

The Giants revealed their throwback uniforms for their 100th anniversary and just about everyone trashed them. That’s just being alive in 2024; nothing new is ever praised. But they’re pretty cool (the helmets are especially great) and a great callback to a long-gone era in franchise history. Enjoy them.

It will be weird not seeing Bill Belichick coaching the Patriots. But there will be a new energy to the franchise as Mayo gets his first shot at being a head coach. Players are excited about going from the uptight Belichick to the player-friendly Mayo. We’ll see if that translates to finding an offense.

The Packers decided that Josh Jacobs was a better investment than Jones, and they cut their popular running back. Jones signed with the Vikings, and the opportunity to play the Packers twice this fall had to be a part of it. Packers fans won’t love seeing Jones in purple.

Kirk Cousins was paid a lot to bring Minnesota to a Super Bowl. That didn’t happen. Now the Vikings hope that McCarthy, the 10th pick of the draft, can do what Cousins couldn’t.

Sure the gloves make them easier, but it’s still cool to see a receiver haul one in with one hand. To celebrate, here’s the best catch of at least the past five years:

It’ll happen. Some quarterback will get a shot and get us excited, if just for a couple weeks. Tommy DeVito was one of the NFL’s best stories last season. So was Joe Flacco. Who will it be this season?

Carr took a lot of heat last season, his first with the Saints. That’s what happens when you get a big contract, the fan base has no history with you and the results aren’t great. Can Carr win over the New Orleans fans?

Williams has been on the minds of NFL fans for a couple years. He was the obvious No. 1 overall pick for the 2024 NFL Draft back in 2022, because he wasn’t eligible in 2023. The Bears got him, and maybe Williams will be their long-awaited star at quarterback.

Maybe Tom Brady will be great in the booth. But Olsen has become a star in the industry. He gets bumped down to the No. 2 color commentator on Fox as Brady joins the team. To many, Olsen is the new gold standard.

Pierce did enough last season as Raiders’ interim head coach to get everyone on his side and get hired to the full-time job. Now we get to see if Pierce can carry over some of that success.

It seems like a healthy Daniel Jones, off ACL surgery, will be the Giants’ starter. Do we know that for sure after the Giants acquired Drew Lock?

Whether you’ll be going in person or seeing it on TV, we all have a stadium that gets us excited just from the first glimpse of it. Lambeau Field? SoFi Stadium? JerryWorld? It doesn’t matter, they’re all special.

The Tush Push wasn’t outlawed, so expect to see a lot more Eagles players shoving Jalen Hurts’ tuchus for first downs and touchdowns. Will it be as effective after center Jason Kelce retired?

Spoiler alert: The Lions head coach isn’t going to punt or kick a field goal when he has a chance to go for it, for better or worse.

Remember when the speculation was that Maye was falling down draft boards? Yeah, don’t believe what you see in the weeks before the draft. Multiple teams wanted Maye but the Patriots stuck it out at No. 3 overall and drafted him. Nobody will forget Tom Brady, but at least Maye gives New England some hope at quarterback.

The Broncos, Jets, Texans and Lions all have new uniforms this season. And the Browns have white facemasks, which was a big deal to them. Nobody likes the Broncos uniforms but they’re not that bad. And the other three are undisputedly great.

Sure, it’s weird to get up early in the morning to watch NFL games from Europe. Really weird for West Coast fans. But it’s extra football. And you really don’t need to get up early to watch Giants-Panthers in Germany.

Stafford has had some great seasons, including one that ended with a Super Bowl title. Last season might have been his best. It seemed Stafford was getting close to retirement, but he showed last season, at age 35, that he has plenty left to give.

Is it possible that the Browns and Lions can both be good at the same time? The Lions should be a Super Bowl contender. It’s not that wild to think the Browns could be too. Cleveland has the goods to be among the NFL’s best teams and perhaps erase decades of sadness.

In 2022, Smith reviving his career was one of the best stories of the season. Last season he wasn’t quite as good. This can still be a fun Seahawks offense if Smith reverts to his 2022 form.

It wasn’t that long ago when Houston was unwatchable and irrelevant. Funny how having a good head coach (DeMeco Ryans), an Offensive Rookie of the Year (C.J. Stroud) and Defensive Rookie of the Year (Will Anderson Jr.) can turn things around.

Mayfield has had a career of ups and downs. He is coming off a tremendous season for the Buccaneers. Is this Mayfield’s new level or are we in for another dip?

The Cowboys have a problem. They have to find a way to pay elite receiver money to Lamb, elite pass rusher money to Parsons and figure out the Dak Prescott contract conundrum too. With every touchdown by Lamb and sack by Parsons, the price is going up.

Are Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson any good? We can’t know yet because they were held back by incompetent coaching and awful quarterbacks. There’s no excuse with new Falcons QB Kirk Cousins throwing the ball.

You know when the Bengals come out in these, everyone on social media will be gushing about them.

Are the Bengals'
Are the Bengals’ “white tiger” uniforms the best in the NFL? (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) (Joe Sargent via Getty Images)

Second-round draft picks don’t get endless chances. Levis comes into this season as the Tennessee Titans’ quarterback and he showed some good things as a rookie. He could be the Titans’ long-term answer or replaced next offseason.

We all have that player drafted in the middle rounds we’re a little too excited about. We’ll be ready to tell all our friends we were right about that slightly off-the-radar player who turns into a star in our fantasy lineup (it’s Jameson Williams this year, just go with it).

Maybe when Rodgers gets to his fifth play this season, we can stop the game and give him a game ball. Rodgers’ first season with the Jets ended in a shocking way, with him tearing his Achilles on the fourth play of the season. He better stay healthy, with the Jets having seven standalone games on TV/streaming in the first 11 weeks of the season.

How does one follow up the greatest rookie season we’ve seen from a quarterback? We’ll find out this year watching what Stroud does after his unbelievable 2023 season with the Texans.

Don’t take for granted watching Jefferson, who is on a Hall of Fame pace. Even with a new quarterback, Jefferson is worth the price of admission.

Murray didn’t play until midseason last year because he was coming back from a torn ACL. He played fine, but he should presumably be totally healthy this season. He and Marvin Harrison Jr. could be a fun combination.

Hutchinson was born and raised in Michigan, then became a star pass rusher for the University of Michigan and eventually the Lions. Him taking in the scene after the Lions’ first playoff win last season was a goosebumps moment. If the Lions take the next step, his status as a legend in the state will be cemented forever.

Dan Quinn has quite a job on his hands, trying to win back a fan base pushed away by the former team owner. There’s only one surefire solution, and that’s to start winning.

When you tear yourself away from your family to watch NFL games on Christmas, at least they are good matchups. The Kansas City Chiefs play at the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens are at the Houston Texans. That’s four playoff teams from last season and a decent show after the presents are opened.

Here’s a secret, Cowboys fans: When your team has a big loss and the entire fan base loses its mind, we all enjoy watching the Cowboys’ world virtually burn. There’s no meltdown quite like a Cowboys meltdown.

OK, a Philly meltdown might compare to a Cowboys meltdown. The Eagles’ collapse last season was shocking, nearly cost head coach Nick Sirianni his job and brought out some epic rants from Philadelphia’s fans. They won’t be patient this year either.

The NFL is better when elite quarterbacks are healthy, and it was no fun to see Burrow clutching his arm with a wrist injury that ended his season. Burrow is on track to return, and perhaps the Bengals will be a contender again.

When Payton came back to coach the Denver Broncos, not everyone was rooting for him to succeed. He can rub some people the wrong way. The Broncos are expected to be bad again, and some will tune in just to see Payton take some Ls.

The Chargers have built a reputation as the best social media team in the NFL, and their schedule release video alone is a highlight of the year. This year’s was zany and hilarious.

The Chicago Bears have never had a 4,000-yard passer. Really. If Caleb Williams can’t do it throwing to DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, Rome Odunze, Cole Kmet and D’Andre Swift around him, maybe it’ll never happen.

Maybe Kelce has already answered the question about greatest tight end ever. For those who wouldn’t pick him yet, another big season as he turns 35 would add to his argument.

The NFL made sure your family will be ignored all day when it introduced a third Thanksgiving game. This season’s Thanksgiving night game is a great one. The Miami Dolphins face the Green Bay Packers at the most storied stadium in the league, Lambeau Field. Don’t take your post-turkey nap during that one.

The Panthers’ owner has taken over as the NFL owner you’d believe any headline about him. Fun game: Make up your wildest Tepper headline for the 2024 season and see if it comes true!

Not that there was anything wrong with watching Derrick Henry run everyone over, but the Titans will have a much different look this year. Calvin Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins are a fun receiver duo, and Tony Pollard could add another playmaker at running .

Bill Belichick isn’t the only longtime coach off the sideline. The Seahawks replaced Pete Carroll with Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, and that will take some getting used to.

Diggs will be hyped up for Week 5 when the Texans play the Bills, the team that traded him. It’s possible Diggs is locked in all season as he tries to prove Buffalo made a mistake.

Odell Beckham Jr. set the NFL world on fire with a record-setting, highlight-filled rookie season. Nabers is the kind of prospect who can have that kind of rookie season for the Giants.

There are legions of Lawrence apologists out there. They’re convinced he’s a star and the Jaguars are letting him down. Maybe true. If Lawrence is going to be a star, this might be a good year to show it.

Richardson was dynamic as a rookie. You might have missed it because he barely played. He played only four games and 173 snaps due to injuries. Those 173 snaps were a lot of fun. And the Colts have a good team around him. Just stay healthy, Anthony.

Either you appreciate Purdy being the most efficient quarterback in the NFL last season, or you believe he’s just a guy along for the ride in a great 49ers offense. Opinions probably won’t change, and the arguments won’t stop.

No matter what type of numbers Tua Tagovailoa puts up, there will always be those who find any reason to credit anything but his performance. All the Dolphins QB can do is continue to put up those numbers, like he did last season when leading the NFL in passing yards.

The NFL is just more fun in a blizzard. The guess for the first big snow game of the season: Patriots at Bills, Dec. 22. Plan accordingly.

Chase is about to make elite receiver money. Higgins wants to as well, but he was given the franchise tag and his options are limited. Will Higgins be happy playing out his time in Cincinnati?

Chubb is easy to root for, and the Cleveland Browns running back is a sympathetic figure after suffering a massive knee injury last season. If he can make it back, it will be one of the feel-good moments of the season.

Garrett finally won an NFL Defensive Players of the Year award. There’s no reason he can’t win two. Here are the legends who have won multiple DPOY awards: Joe Greene, Lawrence Taylor, Mike Singletary, Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Ray Lewis, J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald.

It’s remarkable to think that of the 32 men that are head coaches in the NFL, two grew up in the same house. Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh will meet again when the Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore Ravens play on Monday night in Week 12.

The Steelers doubled up on discarded quarterbacks this offseason. Will it be the more accomplished Wilson or the more exciting Fields who gets the most starts?

The Buffalo Bills rookie could impress as a receiver. We already know he’ll be one of the NFL’s biggest characters right away. Coleman is hilarious.

At times it seems like the Buffalo Bills want to increase Allen’s degree of difficulty. He was already doing just about everything in the offense, so how about we try trading away Stefon Diggs? If Allen puts up his usual numbers this season, his first MVP might be on the way.

Jackson was the 11th player to win two MVPs. The first 10 are either in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or locks to get there. There shouldn’t be much doubt that Jackson is on his way too, but a third MVP would eliminate all questions. The three-time NFL MVP list: Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

The NFL has never had a game in South America before. The Green Bay Packers-Philadelphia Eagles game on the Friday night of Week 1 not only gives us some extra football, it should be a good party. And a strong matchup too.

There was some drama with Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, and trade speculation this offseason, but as of now the 49ers’ roster looks nearly identical to the one that took the last Super Bowl to overtime. There’s only one more step for this group to take.

You probably haven’t heard this fact, but Tomlin has never had a losing season as Steelers head coach. No, really! The Steelers have a tough schedule, so keeping that streak alive will be a big challenge.

It’s the year for old NFL legends joining the media. Kelce retired and joined ESPN’s Monday night pregame show. Hopefully he does his act from the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade each week.

The past two seasons, Hill has been on a 2,000-yard pace just to fall short in the end. While a pair of consecutive 1,700-yard seasons is great, maybe this is the year Cheetah gets the elusive first 2,000-yard season for a receiver.

There’s no more fun defensive player to watch in the NFL than the Raiders’ star end. Next time a Raiders game is on your television or device, fixate on No. 98 in the black and silver. His energy is amazing, and he deserves to be in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation one of these years.

It’s always fun to get a Super Bowl rematch, especially when both teams bring back most of their key stars. The Chiefs-49ers showdown in Week 7 is the top game on the regular-season schedule.

There are some good new uniforms around the NFL this season. But the winner is … the really crisp Texans alternates. These are hot:

Henry has roughly 50,000 carries going back to high school, but can he give the Ravens a little more? Henry is onto his second NFL team, one that gives him a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Hopefully one of the most unique running backs of this era has plenty left for a second act.

Don’t allow yourself to become a hater. Just enjoy a virtuoso in his prime.

Scenario 1: Prescott plays well and Cowboys fans worry about how they’ll pay him.


Scenario 2: Prescott doesn’t play well and Cowboys fans realize he’s getting paid anyway or their new QB might be Trey Lance.

Either way, it’ll get spicy.

We can’t blame Lions fans for being a little obnoxious. They waited like seven decades to gloat. If you thought last year’s stadium takeovers by Lions fans were bad, just wait.

The good news is that if Brady is bad in the booth, he’s not agreeing to take part in another roast. Brady’s debut on Fox is probably the most anticipated in NFL broadcasting since the Dennis Miller experiment on “Monday Night Football,” and that … well … better luck to Brady.

You might be getting tired of the Chiefs winning. But if the Chiefs do win their third Super Bowl in a row, appreciate what a feat that would be. There’s a reason it has never been done before. And it’s possible nobody else does it for a long time.

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